Incredible enthusiasm: that’s how EY Senior Consultant Hayley Hand describes her first impression of The Brilliant Club in action.
She was visiting Cambridge University, her alma mater, to see how this successful education social enterprise is making a difference to high-potential pupils from under-represented backgrounds.
“It was their holidays and when I was at school I didn’t want to study then. But these young people were really open to learning and putting their hands up all the time. I was really surprised!”
The Brilliant Club’s approach to getting more young people from under-represented groups into highly selective universities is to mobilise the PhD community to share its academic expertise with state schools.
It’s got strong potential for growth and has just secured a place on Social Business Trust’s SBT Design programme, to develop an ambitious but achievable expansion plan.
It’s Hayley, currently on a 12-month secondment from EY to SBT, who is leading them through that programme. Her goal is for The Brilliant Club to ultimately secure support from SBT to implement the growth plan she’s developing with them.
“I think they’re a social enterprise that could really benefit from the work SBT does,” she says. “We’ll need to convince SBT’s Investment Committee that they’d be a great addition to the portfolio.”
Hayley’s job at EY is in the transactions advisory practice, mainly doing due diligence on potential investments for private equity firms. She applied for the SBT role to diversify her experience after seven years at EY: “I wanted to use the skills I’ve developed at EY in a different setting that’s more hands on and gives me more exposure to senior people.”
“Because the social enterprises SBT works with are smaller, you can really get to grips with their business and see the internal operations.”
She says the experience so far has been eye-opening: “I’ve definitely seen how challenging it is to be in the social sector but also how gratifying it is.”
“It’s great to do something different; to use your skills from your day job to work with a social enterprise is so rewarding and they really take your advice on board. You never feel the work you’ve done is wasted and you can see the impact you have.”